The starting lineup that manager Ron Washington ordered bench coach Tim Bogar to hand to the umpiring crew Wednesday was, well, a bit short when it came to meaningful statistics and, some would argue, meaningful talent.
That’s been the story of the Texas Rangers since late June.
Mike Carp, Jim Adduci and Michael Choice carried averages below .180, and two of them were batting third and fifth. Another batter, Rougned Odor, was batting below .180 in his previous 41 at-bats.
But the offense turned a 180 in the finale at Safeco Field, embarking on a scoring spree that, with an assist from the right-field wall and grand slam by Odor, lifted the Rangers to a 12-4 win and a series victory against the playoff-contending Seattle Mariners.
“You never know what happens in this game,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Colby Lewis took the run support to the house, tossing his second complete game of the month on 111 pitches. But it was a banner day for an offense that had scored only three runs in the first two games of the series and no more than three runs in any of the past six games.
Odor became the youngest player in club history to hit a grand slam, and Tomas Telis got the Rangers going with a three-run double but only after Logan Morrison dropped the ball after a collision with the right-field wall.
“We caught a break right there,” Washington said. “From that point on we just kept swinging the bat.”
Seattle hadn’t allowed a team to score in double digits all season. But the outburst, which included three hits and a two-run homer by Leonys Martin, is one that those following the Rangers know is a rarity.
Since the start of Operation Development was announced June 24, the Rangers had scored in double digits only twice in 56 games, and one of those was in a loss. They had seven double-digit games before the bottom fell out.
As much as people are tired of hearing about injuries and claim that they are an excuse for the inadequacies of general manager Jon Daniels, injuries have played a significant role in the declining offense.
Carp, not Prince Fielder or Mitch Moreland, was the starting first baseman and No. 3 hitter, and he was batting .178 entering the game. The .173-hitting Adduci was the right fielder and batted fifth as Alex Rios nursed a sore thumb.
But they each singled ahead of Odor’s slam off Erasmo Ramirez, who was recalled from Triple A to start after Mariners brass decided to give Cy Young front-runner Felix Hernandez two extra days to rest.
Odor, at 20 years, 205 days, became the youngest major league player since Jose Reyes in 2003 to hit a grand slam. He entered the game in a 7-for-41 skid (.171) that was only mildly better (16 for 84, .190) over his previous 23 games.
“I always try to do the best I can to help my team win,” Odor said. “I feel really good. I don’t look at my numbers. I play day to day.”
Odor, of course, is in the Rangers’ long-range plans, but players like Adduci, Carp and J.P. Arencibia (.174) are playing now for 2015. The Rangers have probably seen enough to make a decision on those players, but they will continue to play over the final 30 games.
“As I always say, it’s these guys’ opportunity to show they’re a viable piece,” Washington said. “They’re getting a chance to play. I know what the numbers say, but that’s my team. That’s the lineup I’ve got to put out there, and I’m behind them.
“I just want them to prepare to play the game today. I’ve got to hope that Adduci comes up big today, that Carp comes up big today, that Odor comes up big today.”
They did Wednesday. Just don’t expect the Rangers to score 12 runs, or even five, every game.